Written by Shirin Ahmadpour
Recent presentations of women in leadership roles and the leadership that creates Disney magic inspired me to combine the two concepts and see how the Disney princesses have all the qualities of effective leaders.
Let’s begin with Snow White. Before she falls into a deep sleep by eating a poisonous apple given to her by her wicked stepmother that is jealous of her beauty, she becomes the leader of seven dwarves. Her charm and pure heart influenced these dwarves to get along, behave and love her. Snow white did not just use her beauty to persuade her leadership role. She led by example and cooked and cleaned for the dwarves even though she did not necessarily have to. A good leader gets down and dirty with his or her troops.
Moving on to Princess Ariel, also known as, The Little Mermaid. She curiously and fearlessly explores all things new and unusual. Many great leaders have found themselves to be out casted before they reach their true leadership role. While other mermaids thought Ariel was weird, she knew she was special. Ariel was not afraid to leave everything behind and find and experience all she could become, even if that meant she’d trade her tail in for a pair of legs.
And then there’s Princess Belle, the Beauty of Beauty and the Beast. She’s an independent woman not easily swooned by men who sweet-talk her. She knows want she wants and is prepared to stand up for herself. Belle is a balance of strength and compassion. Her caring nature is evident when she removes judgment and accepts the Beast for who he is. Good leaders judge situations not people. (Oh, and we cannot forget the fact that Belle sacrificed herself to save her father. Now that’s a true testament of leadership.)
Women can possess many of the same ideal leadership qualities that men have. The princesses mentioned thus far have displayed the qualities of strength, fearlessness, leading by example, sacrifice and a desire to try new things, however, there are leadership characteristics that seem to come more naturally to women.
Princess Jasmine uses her womanly charms to help Aladdin save the world. Aladdin, the Genie, the Sultan, Abu or any other character present could not have distracted the villain Jafar like Jasmine did. Leaders know their strengths and when to use them.
Pocahontas, the princess of the Indian tribe in danger of being conquered by the English, uses her leadership skills to bring two worlds together. Sometimes in the heat of controversy it can take just one brave person to take in both sides and devise a compromise. While the men were ready for war, Princess Pocahontas was ready for peace.
Whether the princess is a damsel in distress or the hero herself, each Disney princess possesses a list of qualities that allowed them to effectively lead others to a path of change, peace, understanding and love for others. These Disney leaders are brave and passionate about their roles in life. They all have charismatic and contagious personalities, they strive for what they believe is right, and they are fearless against adversity. Disney princesses have certainly taught me about the kind of female leader I am and want to be.